Discussing Sexual Health With Your Patients - An Interview With A Sexual Health Educator

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Awkward conversations are common in healthcare settings. Learning how to actually have these conversations (or start these conversations, or navigate these conversations)…that’s much more rare. Discussing sexual health doesn’t have to be challenging for patients or providers; with some preparation and some practice, it can become as second nature as any other discussion you have in the exam room.

Having conversations about sexual health with your patients is an important part of caring for the entire patient.

Making assumptions, or avoiding the topic altogether, can create missed opportunities and serious gaps in the patient’s care. A common misconception is that you don’t need to ask sexual health history questions of patients beyond a certain age. Another is that the patients will bring up anything that you should know – in reality, many patients are hoping that you will start the conversation. Knowing where to start, and how to proceed once you do, is the key to keeping both you and the patient as comfortable as possible, which helps to keep the lines of communication open.

This week, we talk with Genesis, a college health Nurse Practitioner and sexual health educator, and get some great strategies for handling these conversations. We’ll discuss:

  •           How to obtain a patient’s sexual health history
  •           The Six P’s – what they are and how you can use them to guide your conversation
  •           Strategies for getting comfortable discussing sex with patients
  •           Which patients are candidates for discussing sexual health

 While the conversation is important, addressing sexual health with your patients means more than just talk. We also cover strategies for helping your uninsured/underinsured patients, as well as how to increase your effectiveness with STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing and treatment.

The sexual health of patients is as important as their cardiovascular health, their mental health, or any other aspect of their overall health. Working with your patients will ensure that it is.  

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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